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08-03-2012, 07:05 PM   #1
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Mir 1b or Helios 44-2?

Hi,

So basically, I can only buy one or the other. I know they're both great lenses, however I don't know which one to buy. My main use for the lens is for "portrait" videos (I don't know if that's a thing..)
I have looked at the Helios 44-2 and love the sharpness and bokeh, and i don't see what's better in the Mir 1b/1v even if it's pretty much double the price.

I don't think I will be needing wide-angle much.
Can someone please tell me why the Mir 1b/1v is soo much more expensive than the Helios 44-2? Thanks.

Nicole

08-03-2012, 07:41 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by iNicole Quote
Hi,

So basically, I can only buy one or the other. I know they're both great lenses, however I don't know which one to buy. My main use for the lens is for "portrait" videos (I don't know if that's a thing..)
I have looked at the Helios 44-2 and love the sharpness and bokeh, and i don't see what's better in the Mir 1b/1v even if it's pretty much double the price.

I don't think I will be needing wide-angle much.
Can someone please tell me why the Mir 1b/1v is soo much more expensive than the Helios 44-2? Thanks.

Nicole
The Helios 44 is probably easier to use and more fun on a DSLR.

Regarding the prices, I paid about the same on my Mir 1V as on my Helios 44 - they could be found for about the same price 1-2 years ago. The Mir 1V exists in a Grand Prix Brussels edition which might make some sellers think that it is extremely rare or valuable. In other words, the difference in pricing is due to whatever ideas the seller has about the value of the lenses - nothing more.

Also, on a DSLR, I found the Mir 1V to be tricky to focus accurately - its focusing works much better on a MILC with Live View.

Some more details:

Laur's photo blog: Mir 1V
Laur's photo blog: Helios 44
08-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The Helios 44 is probably easier to use and more fun on a DSLR.

Regarding the prices, I paid about the same on my Mir 1V as on my Helios 44 - they could be found for about the same price 1-2 years ago. The Mir 1V exists in a Grand Prix Brussels edition which might make some sellers think that it is extremely rare or valuable. In other words, the difference in pricing is due to whatever ideas the seller has about the value of the lenses - nothing more.

Also, on a DSLR, I found the Mir 1V to be tricky to focus accurately - its focusing works much better on a MILC with Live View.

Some more details:

Laur's photo blog: Mir 1V
Laur's photo blog: Helios 44
Hi,

In other words, the quality is pretty much the same and the Mir is just very often "over priced"?
I also heard that the Mir 1v isn't as good as the Mir 1. I have decided that I will probably stick with the Helios 44-2 lens, I really don't care about a lens being "rare" or more valuable, they're worth less than 100$ anyway.

I noticed that the Mir 1v has 10 aperture blades, is there a noticeable difference in the bokeh? And which bokeh is better?

Thanks for your help,
Nicole
08-03-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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Nicole, I do not have a mir 1/1b/v, so I can't speak to that lens, but I can tell you that the 44-2 is a fantastic lens. Until you use it, you don't understand just how fun it is. It's nothing special, but at the same time, there's really something special. On my copy, the focusing is smooth, the preset aperture is very easy to use (it's so nice to have no hard stops - you can have any fractional aperture within the range. The boke is sometimes busy, and when it's busy, it's almost always swirly, which is funa nd sometimes dizzying There's a russian lens thread here where you'll find plenty of samples from the various 44* lenses. I haven't used the other variations on the 44, but the 44-2 is very distinct.

Anyway, I wouldn't hesitate to get this lens again if I some reason didn't have it, or have it in a usable condition anymore. I've been looking at picking up a 1 (not the v/b, I keep reading that the straight up 1 is better), but I can't find it with shipping within my range, and with the helios and a stellar copy of an industar, I don't feel a strong push for another soviet 50.

08-04-2012, 01:53 AM   #5
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I had both of them and Mir-1 was sold. Now I have H44-2 and H44M. H44-2 will be the better choice in your case especially for portraits and sometimes landscapes.
I found nothing interesting in Mir-1, and I don't understand why it is more expensive. I think its real price shall be no more then $10
08-04-2012, 06:42 AM   #6
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^
I wish, if it's price was $10 I'd have 10 of them right now.

Helios 44-2 is a very good lens but so is Mir 1, its sharper as well.
I was't completely satisfied with my 80's V model and sold it, later on I decided to try it again and was so impressed that now I own 3 ( 50's version, A and V 90's model) and I plan to get a few more.

One of the most underrated 37mm lenses out there.
08-04-2012, 09:09 AM   #7
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Okay.. Thanks.
Is the Helios 44m better than the 44-2?
And a friend wants to sell me his Mir 1v for 25$, is that a good deal or is still not as good as a Helios for 30$ on ebay?

Thanks!
08-04-2012, 09:19 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Personal preference... Helios 44M (vs 44-2) is a bit sharper but it's all irrelevant anyway as it's very hard if not impossible to tell that difference.
Sometimes, these lenses were serviced at one point and sometimes the alignment/adjustment can be off.

Yes, for a good clean lens, $25 is a very good deal. You would pay much more on Ebay especially with shipping etc.

08-04-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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This post will go in reverse chronological order

A Mir for $25 and a Helios for around $30, get both. Do it without hesitation. I paid a lot more for my Mir-1 (it's very clean and was re-lubed)...and I do prefer it to the Helios.

Both lenses are based upon Zeiss designs so that is where the cachet comes from. If you're not using a focus screen made for fast lenses (or not stopping the Helios to 2.8 or so to focus), you will miss the focus often at f/2.

Now to answer the question of why the Mir is so "overpriced." The Helios 44 was made from the late 50s to the early 90s and was the "kit lens" for many, many, many cameras. The Mir was an optional lens, and if I remember right, could be ordered as the kit lens for a certain time. Wide angles were (are) more expensive to design and manufacture than a regular old ~50mm lens.

TL;DR Get both, you won't lose money on either if you go to resell it.
08-04-2012, 12:15 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by iNicole Quote
Okay.. Thanks.
Is the Helios 44m better than the 44-2?
The 44M is different than the 44-2 but I wouldn't say it's "better". The 44M is probably sharper, but the bokeh isn't as swirly.
08-04-2012, 02:01 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The 44M is different than the 44-2 but I wouldn't say it's "better". The 44M is probably sharper, but the bokeh isn't as swirly.
I'm more interested in the bokeh than sharpness..
What do you think about the Helios 44m-4, is it better than the Helios 44m?
Also, does anyone know what the number after 44m- means? Is it the higher the better?

Thanks!
08-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by iNicole Quote
I'm more interested in the bokeh than sharpness..
What do you think about the Helios 44m-4, is it better than the Helios 44m?
Also, does anyone know what the number after 44m- means? Is it the higher the better?

Thanks!
The 44M-4 and higher are multi-coated but they don't have an A/M switch and only have 6 aperture blades.

The higher the number the later the design, but production overlapped. My 44M was manufactured in Belarus in 1990 for example.
08-04-2012, 07:28 PM   #13
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Seeing that your interest is in bokeh go for the Helios. The Mir-1 renders colours beautifully but bokeh is not nearly as good as Helios. The longer focal length of the 44 will be better for you portrait ideas.
08-05-2012, 02:16 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by iNicole Quote
I'm more interested in the bokeh than sharpness..
What do you think about the Helios 44m-4, is it better than the Helios 44m?
Also, does anyone know what the number after 44m- means? Is it the higher the better?

Thanks!
The "2/58" which are the only numbers on both my 44M's signify 44mm and f2. The serial number is on the barrel.. The numbers are the same on my 44-2's, deep in the well hooded lens, but they have the serial number on the lens ring.

Both versions are excellent, but very different. optically I like both, the M is maybe sharper ? but it's so marginal it's not really a consideration, both are very sharp.
The 44-2 has the stop down feature with the two aperture rings on the front of the lens, and I actually like that - many people hate it. But I don't bother about what the actual f stop number is, I just make it bigger or smaller depending on what I want to achieve and the light. I'm dyscalculic anyway so numbers mean nothing to me. It's a terrific lens on my Sony NEX as I can just leave the main ring set to f16 and steplessly flick the stop down ring with one finger open or shut.
The 44M is just like any manual lens with an A -M switch, leave it on M and you don't need to stick the pin down.

Complete list of Helios lenses - getting closer

That's a good topic at MF with possibly the best information about the lenses available.
They're great lenses, the results still surprise me after years of owning them.
08-05-2012, 02:43 AM   #15
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two very different incomparable lenses. Just get both of them.
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